Travel, whether through distance or time, enhances one’s perspective. I experienced perspective through both the lens of distance and time when I wrote “The Apartment House Baby.”
I began thinking about our newlywed life in our West End Avenue apartment during my extended stay in San Francisco to help out after the birth of our first grandchild. Fresh from New York, I had the opportunity to view San Francisco and its inhabitants from my East Coast perspective. I interacted daily with our daughter and son-in-law as they navigated the shoals of new parenthood. And I had blocks of time to write in the evenings and on weekends.
Unlike many writers of memoir, I do not keep a journal or write on a daily basis. Rather, I build upon an idea, an observation or even a dream that helps me clarify and develop a theme. I get into a “zone”—alone with my computer and thoughts—and begin to craft the work. My husband and family know not to breach that zone during my writing time! I refine and polish my piece many times over. And, my great pleasure, a gift that flows both ways, is to read the final piece aloud to fellow memoirists and family.
My turn as helpful maternal grandmother eventually culminated in a cross-country move and new life for my husband and me in the Bay Area. However, I still feel that I am a New Yorker who is having an interesting visit in a desirable city. Maybe I will write about life here, eventually. But not until I have satisfied my New York memories.